The mission of learning hyperbenthic copepods (HYPCOP) is exclusive in a number of methods; we research a really unknown group of marine copepod species with little or no taxonomic data obtainable right here, in Norway. It’s difficult as there are greater than 700 species described, and presumably extra. With pandemic lockdowns, it was exhausting to have worldwide specialists come and assist us, so we needed to depend on assets obtainable domestically. With so many institutes concerned from completely different corners of Norway, it was not all the time simple to satisfy up bodily to work on our assortment. Therefore, when it occurs, it’s a memorable occasion, and invaluable progress for the mission is made.
We’ve Tone Falkenhaug because the mission chief, located on the Institute of Marine Analysis in Flødevigen (IMR), than we’ve got our collaborator from Norwegian Institute for Water Analysis (NIVA), Anders Hobæk and the three technicians on the division of pure historical past from the College of Bergen. The 12 months earlier than all of us received collectively in Flødevigen, so for 2021 we determined that it could be Bergen to have one other workshop.
A 12 months into our mission we managed to construct up a considerable assortment of benthic copepods; at the moment we’ve got round 460 registered specimens, and 195 off these are barcoded with two completely different DNA markers, mitochondrial (COI) and ribosomal (16S). What retains forward of us is the monster process of working by our specimens to label the DNA barcodes with morphological identifications. It means many hours of very exact work with the best needles, whereas sitting on the microscope.
Throughout our workshop in Bergen we received collectively to work by one of many copepod household timber we generated from their DNA:
Anders Hobæk is a taxonomist with a few years of expertise dissecting copepods, and collectively we went by the samples one after the other. It is extremely satisfying to have the ability to determine a specimen and get the to the identical species degree because the DNA barcode. There are a number of causes as why we select to determine species based mostly on morphology.
Not all species are simple to barcode, as copepods, particularly the benthic ones, are sometimes so extraordinarily tiny; it’s troublesome to get good high quality DNA extracted from them.
The small portions of copepod DNA goes hand in hand with better threat of contamination of different surrounding DNA, particularly in the event you work with extra basic markers. Moreover, even when we’ve got the DNA barcode, not all copepod DNA is recognized as such, which implies that even with the best DNA, when operating it by the database, it tells us that we’ve got fly DNA, to offer an instance. Final however not least, in a whole lot of instances, we weren’t capable of get good DNA sequences from the copepod extracts, so the one choice is figuring out them morphologically, by dissecting the animals and with assist of literature determine the best genus, and even higher, the species.
Our subsequent workshop shall happen once more in Flødevigen, within the meantime we maintain you up to date about our planet of the copepods.
Observe us for extra copepod content material @planetcopepod, see you there!